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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

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OF all the sacred places in India, none enjoys a greater popularity than the
capital of Bra], the holy city of Mathura. For nine months in the year festival
follows upon festival in rapid succession, and the ghats and temples are daily
thronged with new troops of way-worn pilgrims. So great Is the sanctity of
the spot tliat Its panegyrists do not hesitate to declare that a single day spent at
Jlatlmni is more meritorious than a lifetime passed at Banaras. All this cele-
brity is due to the fact of its being the reputed birth-place of the demi-god
Krishna; hence it must be a matter of some interest to ascertain who this famous
iero waSy and what were the acts by which he achieved immortality.
flie attempt to extract a grain of historical truth from an accumulation of
mythological legend is an interesting^ but not very satisfactory, undertaking:
there is always a risk that the theorist's kernel of fact may be itself as imaginary
as the accretions which envelop ii   However, reduced to its simplest elementSj
the story of Krishna runs as follows :—At a very remote period, a branch of
the great Jsidav clan settled on the banks of the Jantnna and made llathura
their capital city.   Here Krishna was bora.   At the time of his birth^ Ugrasen,
the rightful occupant of the throne,, had been deposed by his own son? Kansa?
who, relying on the support of Jarasandha, King of Magadlia, whose daughter
ie had marricdj ruled the country with a rod of iron, outraging alike both gods
mA mem   Krishna, who was a cousin of the usurper, but had been brought np
in obscurity and employed in the tending of cattle, raised the standard of revolt,
defeated and slew Kansaj and restored Ugiasen to the throne of his ancestors.
All authorities lay great stress on the religions persecution that had prevail-
ed under the tyranny of Kansa^ from which fact it has been surmised that he
was a convert to Buddhism, zealous in the propagatioa of his adopted faith; and
that Krishna owes much of Ms renown to the gratitude of the Brahmans, who,
under his championship, recovered their ancient influence. If, however, 1000
B, C.                 as the approximate date of the Great War in which Krishna
took part, it is clear that Ms contemporary, Saasa, cannot lave been a Bud-
diast, since lie             of thai religion, according to the now most generally
about80 yeargof